LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Ömer Aşık of the Houston Rockets passes the ball around Brian Roberts of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. AFP Photo
Turkish center Ömer Aşık scored 14 points, James Harden scored 20 and the Houston Rockets beat the winless Detroit Pistons 96-82 ht in their first game without coach Kevin McHale.
Aşıl also added eight rebounds and four steals to his brilliant performance.
The team announced earlier on Nov. 10 that McHale was taking an immediate leave of absence to deal with a family matter. Assistant Kelvin Sampson took over, and said before the game he hoped the team would come together to win for McHale. The Rockets did just that, using a third-quarter run to build a big lead and break a three-game losing streak with their first victory at home.
The Pistons fell to 0-7. Brandon Knight scored 16 points, and Greg Monroe added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Marcus Morris added 12 points for Houston and Toney Douglas had 11. Jeremy Lin helped out with seven points, eight assists and four rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are apparently seeking to make their fans’ fondest wishes come true and talking to Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson about their vacant coaching job.
An article posted on the NBA team’s website was one of many reports on Nov. 10 saying Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president Jim Buss had met with Jackson and had agreed to talk again in coming days.
The underachieving Lakers sacked coach Mike Brown on Nov. 9, with assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff stepping in as interim coach.
The team’s 101-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors Nov. 9 was still in the third quarter when fans launched into “We Want Phil” chants.
“Who is Phil?” quipped Bickerstaff of the former Lakers coach who guided Chicago to six NBA titles and the Lakers to five NBA crowns before retiring in 2011.
“It’s Phil’s job to turn down,” an unnamed source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that the job is Jackson’s if he wants it.
However, the newspaper said that until Jackson renders a decision on whether to un-retire and the two sides make a deal the team will continue the search process. Former NBA coaches Mike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy are among the potential candidates, the Times reported.
Jackson, a Hall-of-Famer since 2007, retired in May of 2011 after the Dallas Mavericks swept Los Angeles from the playoffs to end a Lakers season that Jackson had said would be his last.
He departed with a record 11 titles as a coach and only 10 post-season series defeats.